Fans of the college nitwits known from the British comedy series “Inbetweeners” shall drown in turmoil no more – Damon Beesley’s “White Gold” is a fair heir to it. Not only because it stars James Buckley and Joe Thomas, two icons of the British modern comedy. Mostly due to phallic humor and a lot of “arsehole” said between the lines.
“White gold” is set during the golden era of the British window production industry, when selling a piece of glass & cheap frame was really easy-peasy. In a small town, a local company employs Vincent Swan (Ed Westwick) – a salesman whose ego is bigger than America’s debt. The series investigates his ups and downs, as Vincent – accompanied by Martin (Joe Thomas) and Brian (James Buckley) – aims to become much more than “just” the best-selling employee in the history.
An unlikeable protagonist of “White Gold” causes problems
The corporate rat race has been a hot topic for years now. It’s not only “The Office”, with its brilliant satire set in a paper-selling company. “White Gold” targeted an equally bland industry to mock, yet its findings are much different. While ‘The Office” smirked at the boring life of corporate workers, “White Gold” is much more into competition and lifestyle of mid-class Brits in the 80s.
Vincent Swan puts things in motion in “White Gold”. Swan is an overly self-confident salesman, who doesn’t possess any redeeming qualities and fails to develop such over the course of the whole season. Contrary to a likable idiot like Michael Scott, Swan’s sexist and irritating. Honestly, his chutzpah makes you wanna choke the guy. What’s more, Vincent is ready to sacrifice his family and morality for career. There is no way to sympathize with him at any time.
The two losers – Martin and Brian – come to aid
Therefore, the series’ creator Damon Beesley relocates audience’s warm feelings to Martin and Brian – two no-hopers, constantly crawling in Vincent Swan’s shadow.
Both actors seem to bring out the characters from “Inbetweeners”, as both stick to the same stereotypes – Buckley is a kind of pitiful stud, whilst Thomas, on the other hand, is the only truly warm and “human” character of the show. They help Beesley paint the Britain’s picture in more colors than foul-mouthed Vincent possibly can.
Since Swan and his colleagues are all men, you can imagine that the humor is far from tender. It reaches some terribly low levels (mainly with the sex jokes and innuendos), but at times it does grasp the kind of absurd that made “Little Britain” great for example. The balance is maintained though, with enough punchlines to cover up the sewer-level stuff.
At times, “White Gold” is sexist too
“White Gold” has some issues with portraying women too. Though Linzey Cocker gets a saying as Vincent’s spouse, she is often portrayed as either a sobby wife longing for husband at home or a feisty, “independent” woman, with sharp claws. Both of these are highly stereotypical and despite Cocker’s marvelous performance, her character is sometimes too -pattern-cut.
It gets worse when looking at other female characters – a knucklehead secretary Carol (Lauren O’Rourke) or the obese and domineering partner of Brian, Maureen – they are dehumanized, serving as cogs in the gag-making machine.
Netflix didn’t hit the jackpot with “White gold”. It’s a concept that might flourish into an entertaining comedy series, with its announced second season.
White Gold Season 1 (2017)
Creator: Damon Beesley
Hate Grade: 5/10